We had the good fortune of connecting with Kara Connolly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kara, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
I’ve learned a lot of important lessons pursuing a career in the arts, which can be both an unpredictable and rewarding journey, but one of the primary lessons I’m reminded of constantly is that a career is built on relationships. Treating others with love and respect is always the answer. I never did this as a business tactic and that is not what I’m recommending here, but I’ve noticed how my compassion in the past has come back around in ways that I never would have expected. I think it comes down to the fact that humans are social creatures and inevitably want to be around those we connect with. We want to befriend and support people who are kind, caring, have our backs and support us over extended periods of time. The director of my most recent music video, Marco Bottiglieri, is someone I met at an acting camp at 15 years old. I booked an ongoing songwriting job through an artist consultant/coach, Brianna Ruelas, I had supported by purchasing an early copy of their first book (also years prior). My album photographer, Betsy Newman, is someone I met in a class at college and I’ve known my makeup artist, Phoebe Dawson, for 10 years. Successes I’ve had in writing for other artists have been some I’ve supported from the very beginnings of their careers and have built my career along with them. I write my fans notes and communicate with them regularly, following along with their lives. I think nurturing relationships is incredibly valuable across the board. One, I value it just as a human being, but if you need another reason to be kind I’ve also seen time and time again that “what goes around comes back around” so to speak. You never know where someone is going to be 10 years from now and how that will intertwine with what you’re doing. If you want to create loyalty and those who will show up for you and stick with you through the ebbs and flows of a career, be good to people. I think this has to come from a genuine place or it doesn’t work, but if you make your focus on loving and caring about people, whether that’s your friends, your family, or your customers – I promise it will come back around and you will be able to accomplish things that you would never be able to on your own. It takes a village. At least that’s been my experience.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I consider myself a storyteller – I write songs for myself and for others, sing, perform, act, envision and produce music videos, style shoots with story in mind and also help other artists promote their work by focusing on their unique brilliance and getting to the core of their own story. I got to where I am today professionally through a series of risks and artistic choices I’ve been making since I was a kid. Being an artist can be seen as an act of rebellion and you often have to defend that choice over and over again as you’re pushed or led in a more conventional direction – either by those in your immediate circle or society at large. It took saying “no” to opportunities I wasn’t deeply excited about and to jobs that may have been viewed as great for someone else just to follow an instinct and my intuition. One artistic exploration led to another and it really began by saying “yes” to that first impulse and then working really hard to follow it up with action. It has not been easy. It’s taken a lot of persistence, getting used to hearing “no,” taking financial, emotional, energetic risks, but I’m very happy that my younger self made those choices and stuck with it. I feel like I’ve remained true to the person I am at my core, haven’t sacrificed my values, and feel lucky to get to work in the arts as I have always been deeply moved by the exploration of our human experience. I want to use my voice to heal people, connect, and change their perspectives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting LA I would take them to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens – they’re absolutely stunning and it feels like you’re visiting various parts of the globe from Japan to Australia to Europe all in one park located in Pasadena. I love nature and art and the library and gardens combine the two. You can go to eat at their dumplings and tea restaurant overlooking a lake or just to read a book in the grass. Seriously a perfect day. We would eat at all my favorite vegan restaurants – Real Food Daily, Crossroads, Pura Vita, Plant Food + Wine – just to name a few because LA does vegan food so well and assuming it were open and in the summertime, I would take them to a show at the Hollywood Bowl because it’s just a magical place. It’s so fun to have the real time reaction from the audience all together (pre-Corona of course) and watch movies there with the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing. We would also hike Paseo in the Pacific Palisades and have a picnic at the top! LA has great hiking and Paseo has a great view of the ocean. Those are probably my favorite spots in Los Angeles, but of course there are a zillion things to do and each part of town is so very different which is part of what makes living here so exciting. Every day could be different from shopping to nature to entertainment. Those are my favorites though.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout my family for their belief in me and their constant support and generosity. They provided me an incredible foundation with which to expand upon and I know not everyone has that experience so I’m incredibly lucky.
Larissa Raquel & Alex Morehouse (holding hand with crow, smiling black and white with microphone, pink jumpsuit with neon palm tree) Alex Morehouse (arm in air in light blue and white) Roman France (maroon fedora) John Brown (piano tongue out) Jessica Nakamoto (blue outfit with guitar) Betsy Newman (pink guitar, yellow room)